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As excited I was as a kid about "the future", I ironically use it mostly to relive the past!


Estil
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I've been thinking of making this topic for quite awhile, and while it may be a bit long (TLDR: We live in a modern "future" age, yet ironically I mostly use "future tech" to relieve the past, and some ways I do so) I figured what better time than as we approach a whole new decade, the 2020s!

Okay, picture this.  Little nine year old me back in 1989 being so excited about the second Back to the Future movie because I want to see what "the future" may be like!  Of course 2015 or even 2000 for that matter seemed like an eternity away for a child like myself then!  So now here we are, really in "the future" (next year it'll be "the future" in the Turtles in Time and Super Baseball 2020 sense!  I don't think we'll see anything like Super Baseball 2020 anytime soon though), yet ironically, I use most of "the future" tech we have now to relive the past!!  Sure we don't have the expected flying cars nor have we yet gone back to the moon, much less any human trips to Mars...what we DO have in terms of "future stuff" is just as if not more awesome and some of it is thing we couldn't have possibly dreamed of back in the 80s/90s! 🙂

Okay so by now most of us know what Back to the Future 2 got right in terms of future predictions; flat screen/wide screen TV with channels in three digits (now you can have four digit ones) which you CAN have drop down from the ceiling if you really want, 80s nostalgia being just as popular by the 2010s as 50s nostalgia was in the mid-to-late 80s, "Cubs Win World Series" only off by one year (and in 2003 nearly having "Cubs Win [NLCS] Over Miami"!) as well as having "the casino guy!?  Who was on wrestling!?" becoming President less than a week later!  And Doc Brown thought the idea of an actor being President was crazy...speaking of wrestling we ended up with a wrestler becoming governor, a SNL guy becoming a Senator, and a Dukes of Hazzard guy becoming a Congressman!

But above all else, the movie trilogy's signature feature was of course, the time machine.  And all of us have dreamed about the idea of time travel (without the butterfly effect sort of possible complications of course!) from time to time.  But guess what?  We already have a time machine!  No really!  Hear me out...

For what do you guys think we do just on this forum alone?  That's right we get together and discuss video games past and present; and we can do so 24/7 without having to leave our house/apartment/bedroom/whatever.  Even just that very basic Internet feature (indeed the Internet as we know it!) was unheard of back before the mid 90s for most people (other than those really primitive BBS's I suppose; but most people (like myself) had no clue there was such a thing).  Another thing I greatly appreciate is that while we live in a day and age where most people have touch screen phones and such...I remember not too long ago when just regular long distance was fairly expensive (remember the 90s long distance wars?) and now we (mostly) don't have to worry about that; whether that be calls or texting!

As for the time machine thing, what better real life time machine is there than YouTube as well as modern streaming video?  I mean I can literally relive any time period I want, anyway I wish at the click of the mouse without leaving my home!  You often hear people in the comments about people "wishing they could be in that time or relive that time"...well now we really can!  Another thing I appreciate VERY much being able to do is reading my local paper's archive over at newspapers.com...and you don't even have to manually load microfilm reels to do it either!!  And of course there's some magazine archives out there too we can read from our screen/computer...and what I hope is that some of my old favorites (especially Highlights for Children and SPORT magazine) will someday get a fully readable archive of some sort.  Archives.org has some good stuff there as well I hope will continue to grow.  And remember how I like reference books (especially the yearbooks/books of the year)?  Well sure I do the whole using google/wiki to find "quick easy knowledge" like everyone else but I like having the best of both worlds!

As for video games, I appreciate that we get to have readable archives of the "big three" gaming magazines (Nintendo Power, EGM, GamePro) and most of the old manuals and strategy guides (and you can easily buy them off Ebay too; yet ANOTHER modern convenience I appreciate; online shopping!) and that there now exists Everdrives/SD cards that allow us to have a "master key" of sorts for retro video game consoles...being able to play whatever game from that system we want (even hacks/translated/foreign games) that work just as good as the real cartridges (because it's played on real hardware) and there's no need to constantly change cartridges!  I just hope at some point there will be a way to to that just as easily with PS1 games as we currently can with the GC/Wii games off a Homebrew Wii.

So as much as we often hear about "future" gadgets nowadays (I can think of two off the top of my head clearly inspired by Star Trex: Next Generation; touch screen tablets inspired by PADDs, and Amazon's Alexis inspired by the talking to the computer thing...though it's not the same without Majel Barrett's voice responding though 😞 ) as well as 3D printing being the first baby steps towards the idea of replicators...I am most grateful more than anything else about this modern day and age, ironically, being able to relive the past so easily in so many different ways.

So as we approach the 2020s (and who knows what it might bring us?), I offer a toast *holds up "Cat Dad" coffee mug; (I'm a boring teetotaller, sorry)* here's to ya fellow gamers, and to the future!  🙂

 

 

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While I do love the ability to revisit old media and to save what were thought to be one time deals from ephemerality, I think part of why modern tech is used to look backwards so often is that we got kind of a shitty version of the future.
 

80’s future was awesome. So many cool things about it, outlandish design that truly made it feel like a different world. It also still mainly felt beneficial. 
 

Instead the most accurate prediction of our future tech was the Pilot episode of Rugrats where Stu inadvertently invented the drone and the Ring doorbell camera. Except unlike his version, they aren’t used to spy on people and erode their rights. And I think that’s also a big part of what drives us to look backwards.

We used to look forward to all of this new technology as a way to enhance our lives and abilities. But instead, it just turned into a way to manipulate the public, track people like animals, bug their homes, enable discrimination to hide behind a machine, and sprout up modern day robber barons, the likes of which have not been seen since the early 20th century. It helped enable 1st world corporations to export labor to 3rd world countries for 3rd world prices with 3rd world regulations (read:none) at the expense of their own country’s populace. For those of us that didn’t lose our jobs, it destroyed our work life balance by putting everyone on call 24/7. I could go on, but the bottom line is that we got the shit end of the future stick so it’s not a wonder that people really tend to look backwards vs forwards these days.

Edited by MachineCode
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Member · Posted

I think futurists have given up predicting this ages ago, but for many decades, when people looked to the future, they always considered that we'd invent new things to make our lives easier, and then use that "free time" to live lives of leisure. But, we don't.  As a business worker, I really wish I had the chance to experience at least a few years of business life where there were no cell phones, and even email.  It use to be, if you wanted to speak to someone "quickly", you had to call their home and hope they were there.  They probably were because people didn't dine out as much as we do to day (even in the 80s and 90s) but, still, you didn't have multiple ways of communicating with them, all of which being accessible in their pocket.

But, that doesn't mean the present (or our future) sucks.  It's just... noisy.  When I am most frustrated I want to go back to a "simpler" time. Many people point out that those former days weren't always "simpler" (the 40s had WW II, the 50s had Segregation, the 60s had Vietnam, and on and on...) but they were simpler in the fact that life wasn't filled with so many distractions.  I miss that.  Yes, I love video games and they are grand distraction, but they can be cut on and off.  I miss the days when it was easy to sit still and appreciate the bordem of casual life.

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In another twist of irony, it wasn't that long ago that things like cell phones/car phones/smartphones were seen as luxury devices that only rich and/or business types bothered with.  But today it seems more of a luxury to be able to choose not to have one, at least not all the time.  No really, many (perhaps the majority?) of people nowadays feel obligated to keep themselves "on call" for work and/or personal reasons.  So they might not be able to "keep the phone off" for any real length of time even if they really wanted to.  I remember when the smart phones first came out and wasn't so sure if they'd catch on because at the time they cost about as much as a regular desktop computer and at least with that (then and now) you get to have a much bigger screen and a regular keyboard/mouse...and how are you supposed to be able to play games on it without proper buttons?  Maybe you guys think I'm nuts but it's always been so much easier for me to just use a regular desktop (still could use a bigger hard drive though) with a nice big screen so I can say, two windows side by side or something for example and it's so much easier to type with a keyboard/mouse.  Not to mention all those contracts and plans and such with smartphones are so confusing 😞  Don't misunderstand me though, I've nothing against smartphones at all...on the contrary I think they're kinda like electronic Swiss Army Knives and in the case of iPhone/iPad Mini/iPad, you can get it small, medium, or large just like fries/soda at a fast food place!  They just personally don't do me much good 😞  I don't even like taking my 3DS-XL or DS-XL anywhere because I'm scarred I'll drop it or lose it or whatever.  I really hope you guys don't think I'm too much of a weirdo for thinking this way...

Edited by Estil
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Member · Posted

That is very true.  You have no idea how many times I've wanted to give up my smartphone. (I'm willing to keep a feature phone.) The only reason I keep it is that I've had many jobs where I've not been on call, but on rare occasions, I have had to be available for important calls or emails.  Ugh, I hate this aspect of working in IT.  If a server breaks or an application is down, you've got to fix it ASAP, especially if it involves processes that run at night.

I can get rid of a smartphone for any other reason.  Even a GPS, which is a HUGE benefit can still be replaced with a dedicated device.  I'm fine with that, or just going old school and printing out directions from MapQuest. 😛

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31 minutes ago, Estil said:

In another twist of irony, it wasn't that long ago that things like cell phones/car phones/smartphones were seen as luxury devices that only rich and/or business types bothered with.  But today it seems more of a luxury to be able to choose not to have one, at least not all the time.  No really, many (perhaps the majority?) of people nowadays feel obligated to keep themselves "on call" for work and/or personal reasons.  So they might be able to "keep the phone off" for any real length of time even if they really wanted to.  I remember when the smart phones first came out and wasn't so sure if they'd catch on because at the time they cost about as much as a regular desktop computer and at least with that (then and now) you get to have a much bigger screen and a regular keyboard/mouse...and how are you supposed to be able to play games on it without proper buttons?  Maybe you guys think I'm nuts but it's always been so much easier for me to just use a regular desktop (still could use a bigger hard drive though) with a nice big screen so I can say, two windows side by side or something for example and it's so much easier to type with a keyboard/mouse.  Not to mention all those contracts and plans and such with smartphones are so confusing 😞  Don't misunderstand me though, I've nothing against smartphones at all...on the contrary I think they're kinda like electronic Swiss Army Knives and in the case of iPhone/iPad Mini/iPad, you can get it small, medium, or large just like fries/soda at a fast food place!  They just personally don't do me much good 😞  I don't even like taking my 3DS-XL or DS-XL anywhere because I'm scarred I'll drop it or lose it or whatever.  I really hope you guys don't think I'm too much of a weirdo for thinking this way...

This kind of fits in with my feelings.  It's not just smart phones, though, it's everything.  Everything has gotten so complex.  When I  was young I envisioned the future as empowering and making life easier and more fun.  Instead it feels like we're held back and more restricted by technology.

Edited by CMR
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While this time is the best time so far, I do have issues with technology, it frustrates me and find most of it overly complicated and unnecessary. But no way in hell would I want to go back to simpler times, well not completely. I love the internet, anytime I want to look something up, anything, right there at my fingertip within moments, always hated libraries and trying to find what I'm looking for in books which they may or may not have, research that took way too long and now, type that shit in, bam!, there it is. I've always hated phones, so cell phones, smart phones, it's not my thing and I would get flustered with it, no point for me since I only ever make a handful of quick calls out of a whole year, though it seems we are all supposed to have them since everybody wants your friggin phone number because somehow an email alone isn't good enough, even though they ask you for it. Heck, even having an email they want your phone number, for supposed security reasons, whatever. Touch screens, never liked them, I smashed two tablets because they pissed me off, I'll stick with my laptop with it's archaic keyboard and mouse. And I've always been simple with everything, so long as it does it's job, notepad and paint, perfect, all that MS Office stuff was just too much for me to handle. Self checkout, makes me uncomfortable, even as uncomfortable as I am with people, I still rather go to a cashier because I'm used to it. I can't work with GPS, my mom and I got one of those devices some years ago, ended up returning it a few days later because she didn't like it, was uncomfortable with the directions and roads it was taking her on, and was pissing me off because I'm used to finding my own way and use google maps and make my route, which is whatever route would be easiest for my mom to drive (she's the driver and I've always been the navigator). All these talking devices, Alexa this or what the hell are the other ones?, whatever, most likely I'd ask it something and it'd tell me it didn't understand, enough talk, fuck it, I'll look it up or do it myself. I'm not much a clear or loud talker and prefer not to have to talk to a machine, never did like leaving messages on answering machines. Self driving cars, fine, once they can drive better than people in nearly all scenarios, but aside from just a cleaner fuel, like solar powered or electric, the only thing I ever would like if one day I were to ever have a car (and can actually drive it) are roll down windows, the old fashioned handle that you crank, I really miss those, being able to roll down my own window when in the car without having the car turned on. More and more robots doing jobs that have always been done by humans, I don't much care for that, but I guess that will just create a different job for us... yeah, living batteries for the robots when they take over completely. Computerize your house, Alexa this or what the hell are the other ones again? Anyway, not for me, the less of that kind of stuff the better. Gaming, I'm a bit behind, have been for many years, was up to the xbox 360 but aside from downloading games to it, that's about as advanced as I've gotten, none of that online multiplayer stuff or whatever other stuff they offer now. I thought years ago with emails becoming a major form of communication that, well I was hoping phones would become a thing of the past, instead they've only advanced. Why even ask for my email if you aren't and don't intend to use it to communicate with me? Urgh. I'm a password person, I make really long complicated passwords that even I can't always remember but just like everything else, we got security questions, phone number, images, blood, soul, first born... okay not there yet, but hey, give it time, they always make things more complicated and want more from you. And I don't want a machine doing jobs for me that I can do myself and probably better, as is I don't like dishwashers and prefer to hand wash my dishes because I do a better job and that's old tech there, yet I prefer to do it myself. Depending on the type of technology, sometimes I'm okay with it, maybe even welcome it, but many other times, no, not going to do it. My problem with technology is that it moves too fast, for me.

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I do have a smartphone, and I do spend a great deal of time on it, but I prefer typing on my keyboard and viewing my 32" monitor. I find myself sometimes texting people on Facebook while I'm sitting in front of my computer. Dummy me! Then I open up FB in my browser and chat that way, which is a lot easier and faster, but I have a hard time doing other things in between messages. It's like the AIM days... One thing that can be said for phones, as easy as it is to pull out it out to use, it's also just as easy to stow it away.

I love the internet. I can't imagine life without it. Same with games. I'm on VGS to relive my childhood with people who cared about games. I remember being the only one among my friends to truly love games, and I spent a lot of time shut in my room playing alone. Now we can play with people all around the world, whenever we want. Even as someone who tends to look behind and not forward, my life was always filled with games and technology, and I am always open to new gizmos that become available.

I can see the argument that we seem more restricted by technology. I spend a lot of time in my bedroom. I work from home in front of my computer, and all my systems are hooked up to my monitor, so my free time after work is also spent in the same little space. It's exciting to me that it might one day be possible to "plug in" Matrix style, even if not during my lifetime.

That said, there's definitely something to be said for a change in scenery, being surrounded by nature, taking a sip of tea or coffee and just living organically... just for a moment. Man, I really need to get out more.

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  • 1 month later...

On thing I hope to see as the 2020s progress is a way to automatically make pictures or even better still videos that are black and white into (mostly) accurate color.  While colorization of b/w movies/films was done as far back as say, mid-to-late 80s or so (which back then caused furious outrage from those who considered it sacrilege), it remains quite a time consuming process.  Though there are computers/computer programs that help some, and I'm sure it's improving all the time, I hope at some point maybe mid to late 2020s we can finally play anything in b/w we want and it automatically can make it the right colors (well mostly).

I mean who here hasn't at least once seen a b/w movie/TV show and wondered what it'd look like in color?

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People tend to remember all the good things about the past and forget all the bad stuff. I agree that the present time is a pretty good place since you can access most of the good stuff about the past now with the advancements in technology. From the internet and constant access to information to being able to play consoles worth of games and having endless music on a tiny device - it's all pretty awesome.

Technology comes with a price though. As mentioned above, it gives companies the opportunity to gather information and data and erodes public privacy. Our dependency on the internet is somewhat terrifying to me, especially as we move forward and it becomes even more ingrained in our society. I also dislike that you have little choice to avoid it. There are times where I have been forced to sign up for online accounts to make transactions and business. It also gives companies the excuse to let you do all the work while they try to pass it off as convenient. I also don't like the fact that the internet is becoming privately owned and they have the power to strongly influence what you hear and see.

Although I believe we currently live in the best times, the most frustrating thing to me is it could be so much better if we weren't blinded by greed and worked towards a common good.

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